Friday, 18 May 2007
Today I bought an LP on the infamous Europa label:
Europa was a cheap German label run by a man named Miller. The label was and still is popular because of the hearplay LP’s and cassettes that they produced for children. But I love Europa for the exploitation LP’s.
All over the world there were record labels that produced such records. Usually with studio artists imitating a hit and filling the rest of the LP with their own songs, that, if you were lucky, vaguely echoed the style of that hit. If you were less lucky you got 11 lame versions of evergreens played by the local dixieland band. But it could also be anything else: I have found great lounge tracks on so-called rock LP’s and vice versa. For some reason many of these cheap records labels had their home base in Germany: Olympic Records, Melodie, Carmen, Punkt and Maritim for example.
I have no idea how many LP’s with exploitation music were released on Europa. I collect only the good ones, and that are about 50. But I know of several titles that I don’t have, and I hope there are many great titles that I don’t even know of.
The LP that I bought today is called Rock’n’blues. A tipical Europa title. There is no band mentioned on the front cover, but on the back it reads in small script that it is The Automatic Blues Inc., with as lead singer Jerry Blow. It is clear that the LP is the product of studio musicians, like all Europa LP’s. But this Rock’n’Blues LP counts 12 songs which are all original material, which is definitely not tipical for Europa. With titles as Natural born bugie (???), Mean mistreater and Bottle up and go I don’t even have to hear the songs to make me happy. But the songs are totally okay. The word “original” might need a little correction: I recognised melodies, lyrics and guitar riffs in almost all the songs that Jerry Blow-my-nose wrote for this album. But it are not cover versions. Here is an example.
The basic technique used by Europa and similar record labels was to cash in on the hits of the moment. Often the name of the hit or the hit artist was on the cover, in an attempt to mislead the naïve buyers. But I doubt if people were so naïve to buy such exploitation records thinking they got an original LP. I rather think these buyers either didn’t care or hadn’t enough money to buy the real thing.
Lucky people! Because in my opinion the Europa LP’s are far more interesting than the LP’s that they tried to cash in on. Well, let’s say that on SOME of the Europa LP’s are a FEW songs that are worth digging trough all the crap that Europa released. I would love to trade music with other cheap/exploitation label collectors. Here is a compilation of some of the best instrumental songs that I found on the exploitation records that I happen to come across.